By Susan Anyangu
A red flag was raised over Kenya’s rising child mortality rate as the continent yesterday marked the Day of the African Child.
Speaking during celebrations held in Kajiado District to mark the day, Unicef Country Representative, Ms Olivia Yambi said urgent efforts are required to reduce the alarming number of deaths of childten under five years.
Ms Yambi said: "In Kenya, the number of children under five who die everyday is alarmingly high. The country is losing its potential leaders and professionals at a rate of at least 90 out of every 1,000 born alive."
To achieve the Millennium Development Goal on Child Survival, she said, Kenya needs to work to reduce the number of deaths to at least 33 per every 1,000 live births.
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Most die due to preventable children diseases, she said.
"It is of concern that the right to survival and development remains unfulfilled for many children in Kenya," said an assistant minister for gender and children services, Mr Asenath Keya.
Statistics indicate that approximately 60 per cent of pregnant women in the country deliver at home. Consequently, when emergencies occur, they are unable to access proper medical support, thereby leading to deaths that can be prevented.
Ms Yambi said: "Kenya must make available resources to health system so that essential supplies like vaccines are always available and other Government strategies are implemented".
This year’s theme of the Day of the African Child was Africa Fit for Children: Accelerated Action Towards their Survival.